Snow-vid-19 Blankets Israel

Snow and Covid come to the Holy Land. As Winter Storm Elpis brought in snow from Mt. Hermon in the north up to Jerusalem in the center of Israel, the coronavirus is also blanketing the nation. According to a report released Thursday, Israel had more reported cases of COVID-19 in January than was reported in ALL of 2021.

Last year, according to the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, there were 960,500 coronavirus cases in Israel. As of Wednesday, Israel has had more than 1,160,000 people test positive—in one month. That is more than one out of every 10 Israelis! Omicron has surged through the nation, with a positivity rate of almost 25 percent.

While there are 931 people in serious condition, given the huge number of those infected, Omicron still appears to be far less lethal than previous variants. Still, the strain on the nation's healthcare system is real.

"The health system is working around the clock, day and night, to safeguard public health. Now we are further strengthening the intensive care wards. We are in the height of the wave, and soon we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this wave together," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

Part of the crisis is that healthcare workers themselves are out sick with the virus. As of Thursday afternoon, hospital occupancy nationwide was at 82.1 percent, and yet more than 9,800 medical staffers, including 1,282 doctors and 2,793 nurses, were themselves dealing with Covid.

As Israelis continue to weather this latest coronavirus wave, Winter Storm Elpis moved across Israel this week, bringing eight inches of snow to Mount Hermon in the north. Of course, we only got freezing temps, wind, and rain here in Tel Aviv. As I walked to the store, my umbrella nearly took me for a Mary Poppins ride before flipping inside out, getting me wet. :-)

Almost four to ten inches of snow accumulated in Jerusalem (depending on which report you believe), transforming our capital city into an ancient-looking winter wonderland. Schools were closed, and even the main highway into the city was shut down temporarily. Friendly snowball fights broke out in parts of the city, and unfortunately, not-so-friendly fights broke out. Palestinians in East Jerusalem tried to take advantage of the weather to throw rocks at police and the light-rail transit system in protest over the demolition of contested housing in that part of the city. A female police officer was injured, and 22 rioters were arrested.

When snow blankets the Holy Land, it reminds me of one of my favorite verses that was fulfilled in Yeshua:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

In Yeshua, our Messiah, we have eternal life, and we have HOPE—fun fact: Elipis, the name of this storm, is the Greek word translated as "hope" in the New Testament.

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Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this my blog. I am the GODTV Israel Regional Director host of the daily TV program, "Out of Zion". I also serve on the leadership team of a Hebrew-speaking, Spirit-filled congregation in Tel Aviv. We love Yeshua and we love Israel. Hope to see you here soon!

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